HC Deb 31 January 1939 vol 343 cc5-6
7. Miss Ward

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is now in a position to announce the policy of the Government to deal with the decline in shipping and shipbuilding?

The President of the Board of Trade (Mr. Oliver Stanley)

The results of the inquiry by the shipping industry have been communicated to me, and I have also received representations from the shipbuilding industry. The Government have the position of shipping and shipbuilding under consideration, and I am not at present able to make any statement. I have assured representatives of both industries that the Government are aware of the importance of prompt consideration of the problems presented.

Miss Ward

In view of the importance of this matter, will my right hon. Friend use his good offices through the usual channels to get a day for a debate on it?

Mr. Stanley

I think it is probably more important for the Government to come to their decisions on the proposals which are now being considered, which, as I have told the industries concerned, we regard as of the utmost urgency.

Miss Ward

As the Government might like the support of the House on this problem, will not my right hon. Friend ask for a day for a debate?

Mr. Stanley

That is a matter not for me, but for the Leader of the House.

Mr. Kirk wood

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us when he will be in a position to give us the result of the negotiations that are going on between his office and the shipping and shipbuilding industries?

Mr. Stanley

I cannot give a date, but I should like to repeat that we regard this as a matter of great urgency.

Mr. Garro Jones

Is it not a fact that on other vital matters the Government have taken two years to come to a decision, and cannot the right hon. Gentleman fix a limit of time when the Government will be considering this problem?